The cool night air smells of a spicy stiffness, it licks its sharp tongue against the bare skin of my legs where my black tights don’t quite meet my beat up sneakers.
He hands me the flask as we make our way up a low hill which overlooks a graveyard. Turning to sit under a tree, I take a deep swig of the peanut butter whiskey we brought along for festive reasons, though they feel a little more stale against the apocalyptic background hellscape of just another day.
The whiskey is too sugary for him so I’m swallowing more than my share which seems to trouble neither of us, so I curl up inside the warmth of my jacket and observe the twinkling lights of the town below. He leans against the trunk of the tree, speaking something so low I can’t understand him, just observe the way the dim light outlines his profile in the empty air.
You can feel the seasons click underneath your skin. The moon hangs high in the vast midnight blue sky, half lit. I think about the empty promise of equality and the illusion of balance. The way day and night are of equal hours now for a while.
He holds onto daylight while I scratch my fingernails along the spine of the darkness, coaxing night. I want it all over me, the darkness, like rich soil buried beneath an endless field of pristine white snow. What is that saying about thinking you are burying a thing when really the thing was a seed and so it began to grow?
I do not fear the darkness or the coming of winter. There has always been fire enough in my bones.
Lighting up a cigarette, he sits down close to me and exhales a grayish plume of smoke into the increasingly frigid air. His fingers interlace with mine among the weeds. I think of Halloween and innocence, the child’s play of trick or treat.
Soon we will make our way back home and do the things we always do. But for just a few moments, we scan our eyes out across the tiny headstones like some kind of nocturnal animal headlights.
Nothing is forever.
Some things are destined to be carved in stone.
In the silence, I can hear our hearts beating in unison, feel the warmth of blood and whiskey in our veins.
You can smell the burning of days gone by, the offering, the sacrifice, the cyclical nature of all things. You can feel the seasons click underneath your skin.
Photo by Tania Medina